by Ester Mbathera
WHILE the rest of the country is preparing for the back-to-school rush, the coastal town of Walvis Bay is preparing for another influx of visitors.
Seven cruise liners, with an estimated 10 000 passengers, are scheduled to call at the Walvis Bay harbour's new dedicated cruise passenger line terminal this month.
The new passenger terminal was commissioned alongside the new container terminal last year.
“The new passenger terminal provides a great impetus for the further development of the local tourism industry. The number of passenger liners calling at the port of Walvis Bay is forecast to increase,” Namport's acting chief executive officer, Kavin Harry, explained.
He added that improved productivity at the port has not gone unnoticed by shipping lines and there are very good leads for additional business through the port of Walvis Bay.
Last December, the vessel Aidamira, a passenger ship carrying 1 301 passengers and 800 crew members docked at Namport's passenger berth 9.
“The vessel is the first of seven-passenger vessels that are expected to call at the port of Walvis Bay in January 2020. The Aidamira will be making two more returns before the end of January,” said Namport's public relations officer, Edith Kukuri.
Previously, passenger liners were handled at the cargo berths.
Meanwhile, Namport's new container terminal is operating at 30% capacity a few months after its inauguration. Harry attributes this to business growth in the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and Zambian and the Democratic Republic of Congo markets.
“There have been notable, humbling and immediate increases in container volumes handled at the new container terminal in comparison to those handled at the old terminal,” said Harry.
Harry told The Namibian that there has also been an increase in volumes handling of twenty-foot equivalent units, which stands at 13 000 a month compared to
10 000 at the old terminal.
“The increase in TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) has largely been underpinned by the very good improvements in the volumes of imports and exports destined for the hinterland markets of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said.
The old port terminal is now being used as a multi-purpose terminal for handling both containerised and non-containerised cargo such as chemicals and various metal products.
SOURCE: The Namibian